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Greenpeace demands ban on PFCs in outdoor clothing
16
Nov '12
Greenpeace International – an environmental campaign group has called upon outdoor apparel brands to forsake use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in their clothing after tests indicated presence of these toxins. Tests have revealed presence of PFCs in reputed apparel brands like Jack Wolfskin, Vaude, The Northface, Marmot, Mammut and Patagonia, says Greenpeace.

However, all is not lost. According to Kirsten Brodde - Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace who spoke to fibre2fashion, “Greenpeace has commitments from fast fashion retailers like H&M and M&S that they will phase out all PFCs rapidly. So that means, there are viable solutions available on the market, which should encourage the others to follow in their footsteps”.

Revealing the reasons for demanding a ban on use of PFCs in outdoor clothing, Kirsten says, “We call on textile manufacturers to replace all hazardous production chemicals with safer alternatives. PFCs are among them. There is a strong scientific case to replace chemicals, such as PFOA ("C8 PFC”) as it is persistent, bio-accumulative and is not biodegradable; it is present in the environment and can even be found in remote areas like the Arctic and builds up in organisms”.

She adds, “Moreover it is present in blood samples worldwide and known as a hormone (endocrine) disruptor what makes it harmful to reproduction, it is likely to be carcinogenic in humans and responsible for reduced immune response. With continuous use, they will further spread in the environment.

“There are no safe levels for them, they are intrinsically hazardous and should be eliminated completely by the textile industry. An outdoor clothing industry that draws a picture of itself as being green should stay out of the use of all hazardous chemicals and not try to monitor them and slow down the process of elimination”.

On the means, it is using to convince brands to disown PFCs, she informs. “Greenpeace wants brands to act on prevention and precaution and ban all PFCs. Greenpeace asks brands not to wait until regulation forbids them to use these hazardous chemicals. We demand brands adopt the precautionary principle, which means taking preventive action rather than stalling and disputing indications of a chemical’s danger to the environment.

“If there is an indication of their danger, than they should stop using them. For instance, M&S is a good precedent as they have publicly acknowledged that all PFC use must be rapidly eliminated. This is the sort of action we need, they they will phase out all PFCs. In parallel, we are also calling on governments for a much stringent regulation on PFCs and a possible ban”, she concluded by saying. 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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